Blocking internet ads and malware with Adblock Plus

As linguists, we spend a considerable share of out time doing research on the web. Ads and pop-ups can be extremely distracting but there other more serious threats to your machine that normally lie under cover. Ransomware and scamware, for example, take over your computer and threaten to eliminate your files if you don’t pay up. The malware then starts erasing your files if you don’t provide a hefty bribe to some account that they provide.

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They use phony messages to fool you into clicking links on pop-ups, which are triggered by rogue JavaScript present on websites you visit. Well-known legitimate sites have had these scripts incorporated on them as advertising. Once your computer gets infected, you will have a hard time getting rid of the malware, letting alone recovering your files if you don’t have a backup system in place.

It’s not until very recently that I became aware of Adblock Plus, a free extension for Firefox and Chrome, which allows you to block internet ads, pop-ups, unwanted images and, generally speaking, most incarnations of malware. The extension is supported by over 40 filter subscriptions in dozens of languages which automatically configure it for purposes ranging from removing on-line advertising to blocking all known malware domains. Adblock Plus also allows you to customize your filters with the assistance of a variety of useful features, including a context option for images, a block tab for Flash and Java objects, and a list of blockable items to remove scripts and stylesheets.

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I confess that at the beginning it felt rather unorthodox browsing the web without ads, but I’m definitely loving it now.

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